Segments in this Video

Energy: Early Observations (06:34)


Electricity is now essential for civilization's function; lightening was the first form observed. Humans have harnessed energy forms throughout history. In 600 BC, Thales of Miletus observed static properties of micaceous amber rubbed on sheepskin.

An Entertaining Curiosity (06:04)

In 1600, William Gilbert experimented with various materials and found that glass and sulfur have superlative magnetic properties. In 1732, Stephan Gray determined electricity is a fluid substance, inventing electrostatic machines to generate it.

Curiosity to Academy (06:03)

Abbe Jean Antoine Nollet introduced electrostatic machines to university scholars, facilitating Pieter van Musschenbroek's discovery of water as a conductor and invention of the electrical condenser. His hypothesis that electricity is a physical, invisible matter became famous.

Benjamin Franklin, Inventor of Electricity (04:27)

Franklin was many things, including an inventor and scientist. He determined that lightening is the same substance as static electricity, and his experiments proved him correct.

Demiurges and Golem (06:42)

After "Frankenstein" was published in 1818, Dr. Andrew Ure applied electrical currents to a corpse, finding it moved. In 1781, Luigi Galvani observed frog legs move when attached to an electrostatic machine, concluding that electrical currents produced by the brain animate living bodies.

Volta and His Pile (06:17)

Alessandro Volta concluded that electricity was metallic, and it must circulate in a closed circuit to be expressed in the form of a current. He invented the Voltaic Pile in 1799, enabling electricity generation. In 1820, Andre Marie Ampere used Hans Christian developed the theory of electrodynamics.

Across Seas, Over Mountains (08:40)

In 1838, Charles Wheatstone implemented the telegraphic line in England. Samuel Morse created code enabling the telegraph’s practical use, establishing the Electric Telegraph Company. Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone in 1876; it was improved by Clement Ader in 1881.

Let There Be Light! (07:58)

In 1879, Thomas Edison created the filament light. The invention allowed humans to function at night, spurring mass electricity production and distribution, and international standards. A generation of inventors was inspired, leading to a rapidly advancing modern civilization.

Credits: From Amber to Light: Once Upon a Time—Electricity (00:21)

Credits: From Amber to Light: Once Upon a Time—Electricity

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From Amber to Light: Once Upon a Time—Electricity

Part of the Series : Once Upon a Time—Electricity
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



It’s a simple gesture, so banal that we do it hundreds of time a day without even realizing. We flip the switch and the light comes on. Little pieces of metal come in contact. The electrical current flows along the cables at the speed of light, surging to the noble gas ampoule, an electrical circuit is formed, and we’re bathed in the clarity of modern comfort. However, in order for the current to reach your home and to fulfil this little common miracle hundreds of times per day, we needed to understand the nature of the process, learn how to master the force, invent ways of channelling energy. This story is more than two thousand years old, but it has been one of the biggest advances that have been accomplished in the last two centuries. Advances which required imagination and the construction of colossal superstructures, and which completely turned human society upside down. This is the story we’re going to tell you. Welcome to the electrical world.

Length: 56 minutes

Item#: BVL237706

ISBN: 978-1-63722-306-2

Copyright date: ©2016

Closed Captioned

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